If you get a chance, be sure to check out this weekend’s lead editorial in the Winston-Salem Journal/Greensboro News & Record twins.
In “Another serious threat to American democracy,” the authors explain in painful detail just how serious all Americans should take a case brought by North Carolina Republican legislators (Moore v. Harper) that the U.S. Supreme Court has placed on its docket for this fall.
As you’re probably aware by now, in Moore, the lawmakers espouse the remarkable and frightening argument that state courts have essentially no authority to sit in judgment of the actions of state legislatures when it comes to federal elections.
This is from the editorial:
…a favorable decision would have far-reaching implications.
“The theory would disable state courts from protecting voting rights in federal elections by eliminating state constitutional protections in those elections,” legal experts Leah Litman, Kate Shaw and Carolyn Shapiro wrote in The Washington Post earlier this month.
Former federal Judge J. Michael Luttig, a preeminent conservative jurist, has warned that those who promote this debunked theory would also seek to apply it to presidential elections.
In practical terms, that means that state legislators could not only gerrymander to their twisted hearts’ content, but in 2024, they could assign their Electoral College votes to whomever they please — even if their decision differs from that of the majority of voters in their states.
The editorial goes on to advance multiple ideas for responding to this brazen power grab — from ending the filibuster and passing federal legislation like the John Lewis Voting Rights Act to simply voting the state’s GOP legislative majority out of power — solutions it concedes are “unlikely.”
It concludes this way:
But in this era in which so many of our traditional institutions have been denigrated, if we don’t find a way to turn from this trajectory, we’ll instead find ourselves being ruled by partisans who won’t hesitate to take more and more power from the people and impose their own will — no matter the consequences.
That’s not a democracy. And no, it’s not a republic, either. If the state legislature wins this case, all 50 state legislatures will be allowed to override their states’ constitutions, governors, courts — and any principle of fairness to voters. Our freedom to govern ourselves is on the line. This could not be more serious.